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Prison Escape

Prison Escape Defenses Described by Vegas Criminal Lawyer in Nevada

Each year, thousands of prisoners escape from correctional settings.  The vast majority are “walk-aways,” who leave community corrections facilities.  However, escapes can occur even from maximum security prisons. When escapes happen, the prisoner can be charged and convicted of a serious offense, if he or she is found and put on trial.  Conviction for escape, or attempted escape, can result in an additional term of imprisonment to be served in addition to the sentence for the criminal act that originally led to incarceration.

If you have been accused of a prison escape, you need to understand what your legal options are.  Judges and juries are often unsympathetic to those who are already in the criminal justice system and who are accused of trying to escape prison, so a strategic approach must be taken to deciding how best to respond to charges.

LV Criminal Defense is ready to take on tough cases, including situations where prisoners have been accused of trying to escape. Call today to schedule a consultation to learn more.

 What is Prison Escape?

Nevada defines prison escape to include any escape, or attempt to escape, from confinement or lawful custody.  A prisoner can be charged with escape if he is merely being held in custody on suspicion of a crime, even before conviction.  A prisoner who is in lawful custody of an officer or other person can be charged any time he is accused of making an attempt to get away, even if that attempt is unsuccessful.

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A prison escape is always considered a criminal act, regardless of whether there was any violence involved in the escape, and regardless of whether there was preplanning or the use of tools or equipment to facilitate the escape plan. The majority of defendants who are charged with prison escape were living in community corrections facilities, subject to minimum security, and were able to simply walk away from custody.  Some escapes, however, involved more complex plans to evade increasingly high-tech prison security measures.

Prison escapes of all types are common. In 2013, there were 2,001 situations in which prisoners serving sentences were classified as AWOL or accused of escape. This is down from 2,500 escapes in 2010; 3,100 in 2011 and more than 2,500 escapes in 2012. The majority of prisoners who escape are typically recovered.

What are the Penalties for Prison Escape

Nevada Revised Statute Section 212.090 establishes the penalties imposed for escape, or attempted escape, from prison.  Penalties vary depending both upon the manner of escape as well as depending upon the underlying crime that led to the defendant being in custody or imprisoned.

  • A prisoner who is held on a felony charge or who is imprisoned due to the commission of a felony will be charged with a Category B felony for trying to escape or for escaping. The penalties under these circumstances could include between one and 10 years imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine.
  • A prisoner held on a felony charge or who has been imprisoned for a felony conviction who takes hostages to facilitate escape; who uses a deadly weapon in the escape; or who attempts to cause or causes bodily harm in the escape, can be charged with a Category B felony. The penalty for this offense is between two and 20 years imprisonment, and a fine up to $20,000.
  • A prisoner who is held on a misdemeanor charge, or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor (including a gross misdemeanor) will be charged with a gross misdemeanor for an attempted escape or for escaping, unless a dangerous weapon is used. If a dangerous weapon is used, the charge is a Category B felony and the penalty includes one and six years imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000.

A prison term for escape runs after any sentence imposed for the original crime, and the sentence cannot be suspended. A defendant who is convicted of escape cannot be granted probation before his minimum jail time is served.

How Can a Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Help

Prison escape has a mandatory minimum jail sentence, which means the charges must be taken very seriously.  A defendant accused of prison escape will need to determine what possible defenses to raise, and whether to plead guilty or not.  There are options for defending yourself, including arguing that you were not lawfully confined or arguing that your actions were not actually an attempt to escape from custody.

A Las Vegas defense lawyer will carefully review the circumstances surrounding a possible escape, as well as the evidence the prosecutor may have against you Your attorney will help you to make an informed choice about the best way to respond to your case and will provide assistance in putting together a compelling argument to make to a jury or to a prosecutor when seeking a plea agreement.

Call today to speak with an attorney you can trust about your Las Vegas criminal charges for prison escape.

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